Reading Between the Lines

The importance of learning at one's own pace.

When my son was 6, he had top scores in all his pre-reading tests. He had all the skills he needed, except, he wasn’t reading. So what did the school do? They put him in with a private tutor for 1 hour a day. My son was angry.

After a few days of this, I went down to the school, I asked them to change the schedule from 1 hour to 45 minutes to allow my son snack and recess with his peers. I asked them to find another child to join him during reading so he could have a break while it was someone else’s turn. I said, “he will learn to read when he is ready." I knew he would, but I wasn’t sure that the teachers had that same confidence.

To me, reading is like potty training. You will learn when you are ready and forcing a child to do it before they are ready can be both fruitless and exhausting.

Would you force a child who struggles with coordination to play on multiple sports teams? Would you take a child who struggles with fine motor skills to drawing classes every day? It is likely a child would just give up and stop trying. Yet, we often focus intensely on a child’s short comings when it comes to certain skills.

When a parent refuses to see what is so wrong with their child. They call it denial. Yet, denial is a natural way of self preservation — a defense mechanism we need to survive. We need to put a blind eye to what is wrong with our children to break through those short comings to see what is so right about our children. Our children are amazing. They want to be good, but sometimes they just don’t know how. They want to help out, but sometimes we are just asking too much. They want to learn, but sometimes they just struggle.

As parents we need to see the ability, the positive, the talent. To see beyond the challenges and nurture those abilities is what makes someone a wonderful parent.  


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